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Texas fatality recorded on new high-speed highway

"Everything is bigger in Texas" could become "Everything is bigger and faster in Texas" with the opening of the country’s speediest highway. Drivers on the final 41-mile stretch of Highway 130 can travel the toll road at up to 85 mph between San Antonio and Austin.

Four auto accidents involving wild hogs occurred the same night the high-speed toll road made its free-to-the-public debut in October. A 60-year-old Lockhart woman died in a car accident on the first afternoon tolls were collected by highway operator, SH 130 Concession Co.

The driver’s Honda was struck by a Chevy Tahoe just after moving from a ramp into the fast traffic. Police in Mustang Ridge said the driver and a passenger in the Chevy suffered minor injuries in the crash. Officials did not mention the speed of the cars at the time of the collision. The accident investigation is still underway.

The Governors Highway Safety Association reported that Texas is among 34 other states where motor vehicle speeds on some roads are at least 70 mph. A nationwide 55-mph cap on vehicle speeds was lifted in 1995.

Drivers on Highway 130 in Texas now can drive faster than anyone else in the U.S. for tolls ranging from $6.17 to $8.21. The cheaper price is for drivers with Texas toll tags. Some state roads in rural areas of West Texas have legal speed limits of 80 mph.

Texas drivers can get from one part of the state to another more quickly using the new highway. Incidents of severe property damage, injuries and deaths increase when accidents occur at high speeds. Will the fastest road in the U.S. earn a reputation for the deadliest highway, too?

Excessive speed is often a factor in deadly crashes and used as evidence in personal injury lawsuits. It may be difficult for state transportation officials to assess immediately whether Texas drivers can handle the high, posted speed without compromising the safety of other motorists.

Source: usnews.nbcnews.com, "Texas highway with nation’s fastest speed limit records first fatal crash," Nov. 12, 2012

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